SETI [ASTRO] Two Scientists Make Case Against Ice On The Moon

Larry Klaes (
Wed, 28 Jul 1999 16:36:59 -0400

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender
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>Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 20:10:22 GMT
>From: Ron Baalke <>
>Subject: [ASTRO] Two Scientists Make Case Against Ice On The Moon
>Reply-To: Ron Baalke <>
>Stanford University
>CONTACT: David F. Salisbury, News Service
>(650) 725-1944; e-mail:
>Two scientists make case against ice on the moon
>In the last few years, measurements made by two spacecraft -- Clementine
>and Lunar Prospector -- have been interpreted as evidence that large amounts
>of water ice are present in areas of deep shadow in the Moon's polar
>That interpretation has received widespread media coverage because the
>availability of ice would increase the feasibility of establishing a human
>base on the Moon by providing a ready source of water, oxygen and hydrogen.
>So far the evidence for lunar ice has been indirect. On July 31, however,
>intends to crash the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into a south polar crater
>to produce a plume of material. Mission scientists claim that if the plume
>contains traces of water and hydroxyl ions it will prove the existence of
>lunar ice
>Unfortunately, the crash will not be a definitive test, assert Von R.
>professor emeritus of electrical engineering, and George A. Parks, professor
>of geological and environmental sciences, in a letter that appears in the
>23 issue of the journal Science. Eshleman will elaborate on their reasoning
>in a special seminar on the Stanford campus at 3:15 p.m., July 22. The talk
>will place in Room 101 of the new Packard Electrical Engineering Building
>in the Science and Engineering Quad.
>Eshleman and Parks argue that if ice ever did exist in the Moon's polar
>shadows, it may have reacted long ago with the dust that covers the lunar
>surface (a material that strongly resembles Portland cement) to form a
>substance that resembles the hydrous (water containing) minerals in concrete
>paste. The lunar dust is anhydrous (without water in any form), but is
>of absorbing large amounts of water and chemically incorporating the hydrogen
>and oxygen atoms into the mineral crystals.
>The two researchers further argue that the presence of such a concrete paste
>provides a better explanation than does water ice for the observations of the
>two lunar satellites, the returns from Earth-based radar and the observations
>and experiments conducted during the Apollo program.
>Finally, the two researchers predict that, if they are correct and the south
>polar crater is covered with concrete paste instead of water ice, the
crash of
>the Lunar Prospector could melt the paste to produce a plume of water vapor
>and hydroxyl ions even though water was not previously present.

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